Living Legacy: Rav Shimon Yisroel Posen, Shoproner Ruv, zt”l
By: Yehuda Alter
The seventh day of Pesach marks the 53rd yohrtzeit of the Shoproner Ruv who established generations of talmidim in the prewar and postwar eras.
The Posen family hailed from generations of rabbonim in Germany. The Shoproner Ruv’s father, Rav Gershon Posen, a talmid of Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch, served as a dayan in Frankfurt for half a century. He would later write autobiographically that his ancestors—all great rabbonim—traced their presence in Frankfurt to the times of the Pnei Yehoshua.
Rav Gershon was known for his deep piety and his great leadership. This is where Rav Shimon Yisroel was born in the year 1895. He learned in the yeshiva of Rav Shlomo Breuer in Frankfurt.
He married the daughter of Rav Pinchos Hakohen Rubin of Uhel, and this is how he made his way to Hungary. His Hungarian influence was fused together with his leanings to chassidus—which he encountered when meeting Rebbe Duvid of Skvyra, while in Ukraine. The story of his arrival to Ukraine—an event that would shape the course of his life—happened through his conscription into the Austrian army as a chaplain. And this is how he came to be exposed to the chassidishe Rebbe’s of Ukraine, during WWI.
Simultaneously, he became enamored with the Minchas Elozor of Munkatch, and followed his path of kana’us.
Following World War Two, the Shoproner Ruv was a major activist for Yidden who remained. He founded a yeshiva in the Budapest area, and began nurturing the broken souls back to life.
Upon arriving in America, he became a Rosh Yeshiva in Satmar.
Here, he shaped thousands of talmidim, and left lifelong impressions on them. He was one of the most important rabbonim in Williamsburg of his era.
He continued to follow in the ways of his Rebbe, the Minchas Elozor, and maintained his ardent kesher with the Skverer court, where he was highly respected.
He was niftar on Shevi’I shel Pesach of the year 1969, and was interred in the Skverer beis hachaim on the following day.
On his matzeivah, as per his will, it is written: “he learned for many years with the talmidim of the yeshiva, most of whom came to yiras Hashem through the derech of the Ba’al Shem Tov.”
He left behind children who are a great credit to him, and he was succeeded by his son-in-law Rav Tzvi Hirsch Meisels, zt”l, who led the Shoproner chassidus until his passing in recent years—continuing the golden chain of Torah leadership of so many generations.